That wasn't the case against the Chicago Bulls star on Saturday
"We did a good team job on him defensively in crowding him,
trapping him and showing him different looks," Smith said after
the Hawks held Rose to just eight point in a 109-94 win over the
Bulls. "We played sound defense on him."
John Lucas III had 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth
quarter for Chicago, which never led. The Bulls, who dropped to
7-2, had been off to their best start since going 12-0 in 1996-97.
Rose, last season's league MVP, had his lowest total since he
scored six when the Bulls took a 17-point victory at Toronto on
Dec. 15, 2010. He did not return to the game after leaving with
2:29 left in the third quarter.
"I give them credit," Rose said. "They played the way they're
supposed to. Our defense let them score easy baskets in
Both teams used mostly reserves in the fourth before Atlanta
coach Larry Drew had starters Smith, Johnson and Al Horford enter
the game for a few minutes late in the final period.
The outcome was in stark contrast to last Tuesday at Chicago,
where the Hawks blew a 19-point lead in the third quarter and
allowed the Bulls to outscore them 34-18 during the final period in
a 76-74 loss.
This time, there was no such ugly streak for Atlanta.
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was disappointed in the lack of ball
movement on offense.
"In this league you usually get what you deserve," Thibodeau
said. "This is the NBA. You've got to come every night. The ball
has to move. You've got to give their defense credit. They're well
balanced: they're good on offense, they're good on defense."
The Hawks, who improved to 6-3, have won two straight. They were
up 17 late in the first quarter before the Bulls came within two
with 4:09 to go in the second on Boozer's layup.
But Atlanta went on an 18-2 run, ending on Johnson's 12-foot
runner in the final seconds of the half, to lead by 18 at
"This one's on the people that started the game," Bulls center
Joakim Noah said after scoring one point and pulling down four
rebounds in 17 minutes. "The second unit got it back to 4. It was
embarrassing tonight. We know them. We've beaten this team
Jeff Teague's dunk with 5:52 left in the third quarter gave the
Hawks their biggest lead at 29.
Hawks forward Marvin Williams left the game midway through the
first with a sore left ankle and did not return.
Drew gave Radmanovich a season-high 28 minutes, and the
6-foot-10 forward responded by going 5 for 5 on 3-point attempts,
handing out three assists and getting two steals.
"I thought we came out from the very beginning and played with
a lot of emotion," Drew said. "I really thought we did a good job
of just getting up and down the floor. We got some transition
baskets. Defensively, we were on queue with everything we talked
Much of those discussions centered on limiting the damage from
Rose, who scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter last
Tuesday and helped the Bulls win 97-83 Friday in Orlando with 21
points and 10 assists.
"We had to get up on the pick-and-rolls more," said Teague,
who was instructed to stay close to Rose. "We sat back the first
game, and he picked us apart. He made 3s and did things, so we
tried to get up on him a little more and let him see bodies. I
think we did a pretty good job of that."
Horford finished with 14 points. ... The Hawks hosted
Chicago for the first time since the Bulls beat them 4-2 in the
Eastern Conference semifinals last season. ... Atlanta G Tracy McGrady went scoreless in 8 minutes after sitting out Friday's win
at Charlotte with a bruised left knee. ... Chicago G Rip Hamilton
was in uniform but missed his second straight game with a
sore groin. ... Bulls G C.J. Watson is traveling with the team, but
was sidelined for the fourth straight game with a dislocated left
elbow. He's no longer wearing a sling. ... Smith missed his first
six 3-point attempts this season before hitting one to make it
48-43 in the second.
Trevor Booker, Chris Johnson and Jeff Withey may not return next season.
Both forwards are expected to decline their 2016-17 player options, so they can join the market on July 1.
The NBA's 10 most valuable postseason players include new stars and some of the game's greats. David Thorpe has the full rankings, including LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Dwyane Wade.